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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

West, J. M.
Platinum: group metals,   pp. 1043-1054 PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 1045

 PLATINUM-GROUP METALS 1045 
1971 (in parentheses) were as follows, in troy ounces: Platinum, 842,470
(782,248); palladium, 455,000 (593,842); rhodium 
47,419 (51,291); iridium, 9,468 (12,063); 
ruthenium, 5,635 (9,225); and osmium, 
1,631 (4,169). 
Table 4.—Secondary platinum-group metals recovered in the United States
(Troy ounces) 
Year 
Platinum 
Palladium 
Iridium 
Osmium 
Rhodium 
Ruthenium 
Total 
1968                 
1969                 
1970                 
1971                 
1972                 
115,587 
126,822 
118,298 
103,429 
75,942 
195,620 
227,763 
208,555 
161,099 
162,718 
2,127 
2,250 
1,927 
2,186 
4,393 
672 
208 
121 
352 
149 
12,176 
11,743 
13,394 
8,837 
11,390 
3,273 
2,873 
7,881 
2,272 
1,049 
329,455 
371,659 
350,176 
278,175 
255,641 
CONSUMPTION AND USES 
 Platinum-group metal sales to consuming industries rose 23% in 1972 to 1.56
million ounces. Increases were recorded for every metal as follows, in percent:
Platinum, 26; palladium, 15; iridium, 143; osmium, 13; rhodium, 34; and ruthenium,
143. Most categories of consumption were higher, with uses in the chemical
industry showing the most significant advance. 
 Sales of platinum rose to nearly 543,000 ounces, 42% of which went to the
chemical industry. The chemical sales were 67% higher than in 1971. Platinum
sales for petroleum refining dropped 32%, on the other hand, apparently because
of a slowdown in new refinery construction. Sales to glass manufacturers
declined, but manufacturers of electrical equipment used nearly 78% more
platinum in 1972. Other uses also rose, including miscellaneous, which more
than doubled. 
 Palladium sales rose 15%, with increases in nearly every category with the
exception of electrical, which declined slightly. Dental and medical sales
of palladium rose 53%. Electrical and chemical sales comprised 49% and 33%,
respectively, of all palladium sales in 1972. 
 Iridium sales rose 143%, largely as a result of a sharp rise in sales to
the petroleum industry for catalytic use. Petroleum accounted for only 3%
of all iridium sales in 1971 but rose to 44% of sales in 1972. Sales for
glassmaking were down sharply, apparently because of substitution by rhodium.
Sales of osmium were 83% to the chemical industry, up from 70% in 1971. The
pattern of rhodium sales was not much different than in 1971, except for
the jump in sales for glass manufacture to 30% of total rhodium sales. Ruthenium
sales boomed in chemical uses, ris 
ing nearly 300% in that category. Sales in 1972 were principally for chemical
(75%) and electrical (12%) products. 
 Uses of platinum-group metals remained largely related to their unique catalytic
properties, corrosion resistance, high electrical conductivity, reflectance,
and physical strength under adverse conditions. One of the major uses was
in the chemjcal industry for nitric acid production through the oxidation
of ammonia employing a platinum-rhodium gauze. An estimate of *the annual
replacement costs—$9.7 million— for this market was published.2
The petroleum refining industry was reported to be changing from use of monometallic
platinum catalysts for reforming to a variety of new bimetallic catalysts.
including platinum-rhenium, platinum-iridium, and possibly also platinum-germanium
and platinumindium.3 The iridium catalyst development sparked an intensive
search during the year for new sources of supply. Bimetailics were said to
permit reforming at lower pressures and, as a result, gave longer catalyst
life and greater octane yield. It was reported that bimetallics, while accounting
for 30% of installed reforming capacity, were taking 75 to 80% of the replacement
market in 1972. 
 Development of platinum-based automotive exhaust emission control catalysts
continued during the year spurred by requirements of the Clean Air Act of
1970 and 
2 Burke, Donald P. Catalysts: Part 2: Chemical 
Catalysts. A Look at Eight Major Uses That Will 
Chew Up $90—$96 Million Worth of Catalysts 
This Year. Chem. Week, v. 111, No. 19, Nov. 8, 
1972, pp. 35—45. 
' Burke, Donald P. Catalysts: Part I: Petroleum 
Catalysts. A Comprehensive Look at a $168- 
Million/Year Business Headed for Spectacular 
Growth. Chem. Week, v. 111, No. 18, Nov. 1, 
1972, pp. 23—33. 


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